Greenpoint’s Lot Radio recently hit a setback when its shipping-container cafe was temporarily shuttered by the health department, but it’s keeping the music alive with a new pop-up shop on Canal Street and a performance by Alex Zhang Hangtag, aka Dirty Beaches, inside the San Damiano Mission this Thursday, March 14.
While the cafe awaits approval to reopen, the radio station on the triangular lot near the Greenpoint-Williamsburg border remains in full swing. Last month, at its third anniversary party, founder Francois Vaxelaire reflected on his success so far. “It has been the three most rewarding years of my life. I’m extremely thankful that it picked up and it proved that it was possible [for us] to be independent and entirely self-funded.”
The Lot Shop will sell records, zines, tapes, and clothing, and is a partnership with Wallplay, the experimental arts and innovation network that repurposes empty spaces. They’re working with Vibe Studios to revamp Canal Street’s empty storefronts for local artists and upstart designers.
Lot Radio’s music curator Chris Cherny, aka Chris Cherry, describes the station as “a whole universe of its own with its own family and community that New York was missing before.” He’s excited for Thursday’s concert at the Catholic mission across the street from the station. Having previously hosted conceptual music from the likes of Blonde Redhead’s Pace brothers, the venue continues that strain with Alex Zhang Hangtag, who retired his Dirty Beaches project in favor of a dreamy, more experimental combination of saxophone and synthesizers (his album Divine Weight came out last year).
“Zhang was upset with the sound of the sax he was recording, so he decided to slow it down as much as he could which created a whole new sound that he could then manipulate,” Cherry told us. “I’d been trying for years to book him for a concert and so I reached out to his agent when I heard he planning his next tour. Zhang had been looking for non-traditional venues for his ambient sound and we knew the Mission would be perfect for it.”
Zhang’s avant guard performance will be right at home with Lot Radio, whose DJs gather new sounds regardless of their genre or era. During her set for the anniversary party, Lot resident Barbie Bertisch, who along with partner Paul Raffaele founded the DJ magazine Love Injection, explained the station’s eclectic yet unified vibe. “It’s been amazing how we’ve grown together. We’ve all evolved into our own music approaches as opposed to what’s expected from the club audiences. We play all kinds of music, not just dance, and Lot Radio allows us to explore that.”
Alex Zhang Hungtai performs this Thursday, 8pm, at the San Damiano Mission, 85 North 15th Street. Pre-sale tickets available here and there will be a limited amount at the door. Lot Radio’s Lot Shop at 322 Canal Street is open daily from noon to 8pm.